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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  April 17, 2013 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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officials are responding to what's happening here. can you tell us about that? >> yeah, right now the winds are out of the south gusting at about 30 to 35 miles an hour. it's a very windy night here. a major cold front is moving into the state. ahead of that severe thunderstorms in oklahoma and northwest texas. those are expected to reach the north texas area sometime between 5:00 and 9:00 a.m. central time tomorrow. that is the concern here on the ground is to try to go block by block, house by house to try to see if there are any more survivors here in the rubble and get them out before the storms come through and make it almost impossible to search for them. >> you're there in west, you live in texas. can you tell us a little bit about this community? it's been reported a five-mile radius has been affected in some way. can you tell us about that in perspective to that community. would that be the majority of this area? >> it would be. this is a very small town, a couple of thousand people at
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most. it's a farming community, hence the fertilizer plant here in town to make fertilizers for the farms. this is along i-35 between hillsborough and about 20 miles north of waco. the town is mostly off to the east of the interstate. certainly people driving the interstate today saw that mushroom cloud billow up the northern part of this town. we heard some people say their windshields were cracked because of it. >> in terms of this community and their ability to deal with a tragedy of this magnitude, we heard d.l. wilson with the texas public safety department saying they don't need anymore first responders arriving on scene but is the area equipped to deal with the number of injuries and those who need help or would they have to be sent out to surrounding areas such as waco, for example? >> they would definitely have to be sent out. there is a small hospital here
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but, as you can imagine, it would be overwhelmed by the number of casualties coming in. so helicopter, emergency life flight helicopters from the dallas/fort worth area were here, as well as waco. many of the critically injured were taken to waco. the hospital director there said on television a little bit earlier tonight that what he was struck by was just the commonality of the people coming in, family people, mothers, fathers, children, just every day people who were caught up in this disaster in their own hometown. >> and can you share with us a little bit about what you're seeing now? are you seeing smoke? are you smelling any fumes or anything that seems out of the ordinary? what's the scene like on the ground there where you are? >> i'm almost in the center of town. the blast area was just to the north of me by maybe a quarter mile to a half mile. i don't see as much flames as i did earlier. the smoke may still be rising.
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it's dark here, it's hard to tell. that smoke would be going to the north. that would help disperse any ammonia leaking from the plant. ammonia is a colorless but very caustic and toxic fume that it gives off. it is also lighter air so that helps disperse it, too. it's not going to hug the ground. >> you mentioned that you're relatively close. are there any efforts to keep people away from the blast site? >> yes. >> are there officials checking people in? >> yes. there's a roadblock on every street off the main east/west corridor through down. no one is getting in there except first responders. >> as you told us about earlier and if you could share this information again because i think it's very instructive to look at the past when you look at situations like this. fertilizer plants unfortunately at times have these problems with these kind of explosions, correct? >> that's right. in fact, 66 years ago yesterday
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on april 16th, 1947 in texas city, a ship load of anhydrous ammonia caught fire and just like today people came out to see the fire, drawn by the smoke and they started taking pictures. the fire got out of control and spread to a neighboring ship, "the grand camp," which also contained anhydrous ammonia. it exploded and that explosion killed thousands of people in texas city. it was the worst industrial accident of the last century. >> okay. i want to talk a little bit about the images we're seeing now. for those who are just joining us, these fires is not as a result -- this is not the plant we're looking at. these are fires that are a result of that initial explosion at the plant. this is the surrounding area. we've been seeing all night a number of buildings on fire and damaged or completely destroyed and that's the surrounding area that has been damaged because of the force of this blast that we now know registered more than a
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2.1 magnitude earthquake. we still don't know why this happened. of course explosions like this have, as we just heard from charles hadlock, happened in the past at fertilizer plants that contained these type of chemicals. we don't know exactly what happened here. we do know state officials and even federal officials are monitoring the situation very closely. texas governor rick perry has said that "we have mobilized state resources to help local authorities." we also know the obama administration has been briefed on what has taken place here in west, texas. they are aware of the situation and monitoring the situation. the human toll, early estimates are that hundreds have been injured. officials are confirming that there are fatalities. however, they have not given a number of fatalities at this time.
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as charles hadlock just reported, this is a small town so they would not be equipped to handle the number of injured themselves. we have reports that a number of people have gone to waco, texas. they are reporting they are treating a number of burn injuries, which would be consistent with the nature of this kind of explosion. in terms of some other effects of this devastating blast, officials have closed i-35. that is the main interstate into and out of west, texas. they have also issued a no-fly zone of a three-mile radius around that area. the concern is of a secondary explosion taking place, which of course could affect aircraft. there are also concerns about toxic fumes. parts of the area have been evacuated for those same reasons. the concern of course, the primary concern, is to treat those injured and to prevent any further injuries or loss of life. so a number of people have been evacuated from the area in case there is a secondary explosion,
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but of those who have remained nearby, the mayor is asking them to stay indoors. this is because of the concern for toxic fumes. they want to make sure that people do not come in contact with that. in addition to that, officials have set up a triage area on a nearby field. that's where they are bringing some folks who need attention there a number of first responders are in west, texas. in fact, so many people responded from surrounding areas from as far away as dallas and fort worth. they got such an overwhelming response of help from those folks that texas officials are asking people not to come, first responders. they have enough help, they don't need anymore. officials have set up a triage area on a field and are dealing with some of those who need help. they are also dealing with some of the evacuees. we're seeing right now a nursing home that has been severely destroyed by the force of this blast and the residents of that nursing home have been evacuated
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and so a number of people are being tended to on that field. you can see the number of first responders and the attention that's being paid to those individuals who are being brought there. officials are saying that the gas company has turned the gas off, which would make sense. you want to try to prevent any possible gas explosions, any further damage and destruction to the area. we're also hearing reports of power outages, up to 2,000 customers -- more than 2,000 customers currently without power. now, i want to bring nbc's charles hadlock back in. he is on the ground there. charles, have you seen first responders still coming into town or are they heeding the advice they don't need anyone else at this time? >> i think they're heeding the response. i don't see as many first responders on the streets right now. earlier this evening, though, just about every car in the vicinity of west, texas was a first responders from as far as
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away as dallas, fort worth. the state trooper said hundreds of miles away people were coming in. i believe that. that's the way things half in texas. when a tragedy like this happens in a small town, small towns respond as well as large ones and that's what's happened in this case. right now the triage unit has very few patients in it. the state trooper who gave the briefing a while ago said all of the injured have been evacuated from town. right now they're concentrated on searching the debris in the blast area looking for more victims or survivors. >> as you mentioned, we're hearing they're going door to door looking for folks who may need assistance. the state official compared the damage from this explosion to the damage in the oklahoma city bombing. now, you were some 60 miles away at this time that this happened and you say you actually felt it. what did you feel? >> i was in kauffman county
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covering the d.a. death there and the arrest of the justice of the peace and his wife in connection with that case, and i was inside a building about, oh, five minutes till 8:00 central time. and there was a rumble in the glass of the building. everyone went, well, is that a thunderstorm? is that high wind? we're expecting thunderstorms later tonight. but when i walked outside, there were no storms around and the wind was calm and i just kind of thought i wonder what that was. about 20 minutes later the phones started ringing and we'll realized immediately what it was. >> as you've driven through down, have you seen any signs of damage? >> not really. of course it's dark here so it's hard to see what's on the buildings and what glass may or may not be in windows. we heard earlier from a local
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reporter that there was sheet metal strewn around town. that would not be uncommon. a big huge tank of anhydrous ammonia blowing up is going to send shrapnel perhaps miles away from the scene. >> you mentioned a number of those around the scene have been evacuated. of those who were not injured but have been evacuated for safety, do we know where they've gone? >> probably with friends and relatives and other parts of the county. perhaps to waco to check into a motel to wait to see what tomorrow brings. as far as we know right now, there are no shelters set up. i'm sure that will be established as the hours go on and we find out people don't have a place to go. right now everyone seems to be o off the streets. >> and all of the injured have been evacuated and are being attended to at health facilities and hospitals and the like?
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>> that's what the state trooper was saying. >> if you're just joining us, you can see the first response there and that fire that resulted from this massive explosion that took place at a fertilizing plant earlier this evening. that blast happened just before 8:00 p.m. local time. there was already a fire burning. we do not know the cause of that initial fire, but we do know that there was already a fire burning at that plant when that explosion took place. that happens to be why we've seen video of the explosion taking place because people were out taking video of the fire and happened to capture the massive explosion as a result of that. because there was a fire on scene, a number of firefighters were there battling that blaze. of course there is a lot of concern about their safety at this time. we've heard from the texas department of public safety about the initial fire and explosion. they've said, quote, the fertilizer plant was on fire, firefighters were on the scene, there was an explosion followed by a second explosion. so at least one report that
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there may have been more than one explosion. and of course that speaks to the fears that officials have now of potentially more explosions. we heard earlier this evening from a gentleman from the texas department of public safety and he said, quote, that there are still active ingredients, that's his term, for potentially dangerous elements at that fertilizer plant and at least at the time that he spoke that there was a fire still smoldering. of course their primary concern is in treating those who have been injured and in tending to the people of the community there. but then there is this secondary concern of more explosions and of continued damage. now, to that end to try to put in place some previous cautionary measures, the gas companies have turned the gas off to ensure that there are no gas explosions as a result of this. now, that blast was so powerful that it was felt up to 70 miles away. we just heard from nbc's own charles hadlock who felt it 60 miles away.
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the usgs said it was more powerful than a 2.1 magnitude earthquake. in fact, it did damage a number of buildings in the surrounding area. the estimates are that in a five-mile radius, 75 to 100 homes and businesses have been damaged or destroyed, and that includes the home of the mayor of this community. his home is reportedly heavily damaged and he actually spoke of this tragedy earlier. and in terms -- in referencing the potential number of fatalities, he said, quote, people might not be here today, alluding to the fact that perhaps there are some that have not survived. we have had officials confirm there are fatalities, though they are not reporting the number of fatalities at this time. officials are saying that plant was fully engulfed in fire prior to that explosion. we, again, don't know why that particular fire started. earlier this evening officials set up a triage area on a field to try to mobilize their
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resources in one place where they could bring those who needed treatment. nbc news' charles hadlock has reported everybody injured has been evacuated. a number of people have been transferred to area hospitals. waco, texas, for example, is 20 miles away and they have confirmed they have received a number of patients at local area hospitals. of course officials are monitoring this situation. governor rick perry has said he is continuing to monitor it and they are providing any state resources necessary to deal with this tragedy. for those who are looking for information on their loved ones, if you are concerned about someone in the area, you're worried about their condition, we do have a phone number we can share with you. we can put it up on the screen there. it's 1-888-394-4947.
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that's the family emergency line for anyone who may be concerned about their loved ones in the area there. i want to take a minute to play a sound bite that we have from a gentleman who actually survived that blast. it's a firsthand account of the power of that blast and how devastated that was. the man was visibly injured. let's take a listen to what he had to say. >> we got a report of a fire at the fertilizer plant. the fire trucks went there, we send the ems unit we always do to back the firemen up. i saw how bad it was. i went to the nursing home and the medical director at the nursing home, went to the station closest to where the fire was and called all the personnel and said get everyone evacuated to the far side of the building. we had almost everybody out then. there was a major, major explosion, the roof came in on
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me, the ceiling came in. i worked my way out to get more help. we lost all communication because the power went out. the anhydrous station is badly damaged. the whole 15-block of still meadow, which is the closest street to it, my son lives there, luckily he was on the second floor, that whole street is gone. >> where were you at -- >> i was in the nursing home. >> what is this like? explain how are you feeling right this second? >> exhausted. trying to get everybody where i need to, trying to do my job. i can't communicate with everybody. we didn't have cell service. finally went to the communication and went to the helicopter because they have different telephone systems. we got a lot of people still trapped in houses but that's dangerous materials, hazardous
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material. we can't get to them right now. >> reporter: have you ever seen or been in anything like this before? >> no. i was in katrina after the disaster -- >> that's a gentleman who survived the blast in the town of west, texas the l.a. times is reporting at least three people are dead and six firefighters have been reported missing in this fertilizer plant explosion. that's "the los angeles times" reporting that. officials have confirmed there are fatalities, they just are not reporting numbers at this time. please stay with us after the break. we had never used a contractor before
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chrystal ladane, an eyewitness. we're going to have her later. stay with us.
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breaking news out of the town of west, texas, where a fertilizer plant explosion earlier this evening has left hundreds injured. officials are confirming there are fatalities. i'm joined on the phone by crystal la dane. can you tell us what happened this evening? >> we were outside. you could hear the fire trucks go by. we come out to see what was going on. you could see the fertilizer plant was on fire and the fire was growing rapidly. i turned to my neighbor and told her that we probably should be getting out of the area and about that time it exploded. and when it did, it like picked
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you up and kind of threw you down. i had my two daughters in the yard and we were able to grab them and cover them. the shrubs in my house blew parallel, blew all the windows out of my house, blew the door wide open. we jumped in the car with what we had on. none of us had shoes or anything. we got in the car and got out of there. we are safe at my mom's house probably two miles out of town. everything is completely chaotic. i tried to go back to my house to get things for the kids. of course nobody can get over there. you can't even get through town. all the windows downtown are blown out. when i was leaving the area right after the explosion happened, you could see cars in the middle of the street that's windows had exploded and were stopped in the middle of the
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street. the windows were down in my car and you could just hear screaming through down. this is a huge, huge situation here. this town is going to be affected by this for many, many years to come. it's a very close-knit town. i've grown up here. i know most of the people in this town or knows somebody who knows the people, and we're all going to be affected greatly by this tragedy. >> crystal, i'm sorry to hear about the damage to your home. i am happy to hear, however, that you and your girls are okay. you mention it's a tight-knit community. you also told one of our producers that you know the gentleman that we heard from before the break, the one who had blood on his face. what can you tell us about him? apparently he's looking for his son? >> no, i'm not certain for sure but his son is -- dr. smith is a founder of this town. he's always there when anybody needs help. he's one of the local doctors. he has set together the emt
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service here. his youngest son, kevin, is one of the emt workers locally. i think that he is safe now, but i'm pretty sure dr. smith was extremely concerned where kevin may be because the smith family is always first on the scene usually. and i was just really excited to see that dr. smith was okay when he was on the news channel. so there's going to be a lot of people that are from our town that are, you know, big supporters that were going to be first on the scene and i'm extremely concerned about some of my friends that are the volunteer fire department. >> i'm sure when something like this happens, people start to check in on one another and call and text and the like. have you heard anything about any injuries that people have suffered? of course everyone wants to know the scope of this, how many potential injuries, how many potential fatalities. you have heard anything from other people in the community about those issues? >> yes, ma'am, i have.
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i've heard some of my friends are safe and some of them are in hospitals or getting stitches because they have cuts because they were in their house. a couple of my friends that are firefighters i have heard from their families and they didn't make it. i just hope that the number is not going to be as high as i'm expecting it to be. this was a really, really big situation. a lot more than i think people think. >> crystal, we appreciate your perspective, we really do. if you could hang on with us, because we would definitely like to hear more from you on the other side of this break. we are going to take a quick break. the "l.a. times" is reporting about six firefighters are currently missing. everyone certainly hopes the best in that situation, that there are found alive and well. there are concerns about throws responding to the blaze at the time that this explosion took
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place, again, recovering a devastating explosion at a fertilizer plant in the town of west, texas. back with more on the other side of this break. ♪ i am a lash addict. i can't get enough. the only thing stopping me? fear of clumps. [ gasps ] until now. meet new covergirl clump crusher. big volume mascara with a brush designed to crush. now, i can load up my lashes to the extreme. 200% more volume. zero clumps.
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>> we continue to cover the massive explosion out of west, texas, registered at the level of a 2.1 magnitude earthquake. officials have reported there are fatalities. the "l.a. times" have reported three people have been reported dead and six firefighters are missing, though msnbc news cannot confirm those numbers at this time. i'm talking to crystal ledane. she lives close to the site of the explosion. if we could pick up where we left off before we went to
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break, you were telling me you had an opportunity to check in with people and you had concerns about some people who you feared were missing and would not be found. can you tell me a little more about what you're hearing about people who have not been accounted for? >> yes, ma'am. when i went down to look to see what was going on to begin with and you saw the first responders, you could see them drive pretty close to the fire. those are the ones i'm concerned about, our volunteer fire department. i have a friend i graduated high school with, joey, that is a volunteer fire department. i'm extremely concerned about him. another friend morris bridges, i'm extremely concerned about him. quite a few of our founding community members are our volunteer fire department. they were awfully close to the explosion and i'm extremely concerned for their well being. >> i want to put the number on screen, 888- -- as you were
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leaving town, did you see the extent of the damage and can you reiterate for us how your own home was damaged? >> the whole town is damaged. the windows downtown, which, you know, two miles away from the explosion, all the windows are out. all the windows in my house and all of my friend's houses that live around there are out. the sonic, the local sonic that's on the other side of town, the roof came up and blew off of that. there's damage everywhere. it's just unbelievable. >> forgive me if i have to cut you off while you're answering because we do have a break coming up, can you tell me about this plant? how many roughly work there? at that time of night were people still on their shifts or would it have been pretty empty? >> it would probably be pretty
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empty. i would think there are always people there, maybe ten people. the farmers around here come in and out all the time to get the anhydrous for their field so there's always somebody usually there. >> has there been incident -- certainly not like this but has there been any incident like this at the plant in the past? >> no, i've lived in west almost my whole life and i've never heard of the fertilizer plant being on fire to anything like this. not at all. >> crystal, if you can stay with us, i definitely want to talk to you a little bit more. we're going to quickly go to a break. we're covering a fertilizer explosion out of the town of west, texas the reports are that a hundred have been injured and there are in fact fatalities. we'll have more on the other side of this break.
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we continue to follow this breaking news out of texas. a fertilizer plant explosion near waco, texas in the town of west. it's estimated more than a hundred have been injured and that there are confirmed fatalities, however, officials are not giving a number at this time. that explosion so powerful that it registered as a 2.1 magnitude earthquake. that's according to the usgs. if caused extensive damage to surrounding areas. it's estimated up to 100 homes in a five-mile radius of the plant have been damaged or destroyed. one of those homes belongs to crystal ledane. can you just recount the moment that the explosion hit? >> yes, ma'am. like i said, we had heard the fire trucks go by and we walked
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outside to see what was going on, and you could see at the end of my street that the fertilizer plant had caught on fire and it was growing rapidly. i turned to my neighbor and, you know, told her we probably should be getting out of there. about that time the explosion went off and when it did, it just like picked you up. it was like a huge suction and everything exploded. it blew my shrubs parallel. i was able to get the girls, my two daughters and we were able to grab them and cover them from all the debris. and as soon as we got up, we jumped in the car and just got out of there as quick as we possibly could. when we drove through town, all the downtown windows were exploded out. anybody that had been crossing the railroad tracks or driving through town, windows blew out of their car. you could just hear people screaming everywhere. it was total panic. >> and what can you tell us
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about this community? you said you've grown up there. would you describe it as a tight-knit community? we know it's relatively small, about 2,600 people. what can you tell us about your hometown? >> it's your all-american small town. everybody knows everybody. it's super, super close. lots of families here. if you grow up here, you try to raise your kids here. and it's just -- it's the town that, you know, that small town feel. this is going to rock us pretty hard, the people that are either injured or might not make it from this, everybody's going to be affected in a major way. >> as you mentioned, there was a fire burning at the plant prior to the explosion. that's actually why you were outside watching the plant because you were looking at the fire as so many people were. did you see a big response from firefighters? i mean, how many first responders were already at the scene at the time that the explosion took place? >> we have, you know, like i said this is a small town so our
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volunteer fire department was there, probably three or four trucks. and they were awfully close to the explosion. the fire happened so -- just so rapidly. it grew so fast. by the time waco got there or any of the surrounding communities to come and assist in this fire, it had already exploded. it was quick. >> what can you tell us about this plant? how big is it? how many people work there? and how many prominent a role did it play in the community in terms of people who did work there or go there for fertilizer for the farming community? >> west is a huge farming community. you got abbott and surrounding towns that are the same way and west fertilizing has always been a prominent plant around the area. due to the time of the day that it was, i'm sure there were
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still some employees at the plant. i'm not sure exactly how many would still be there. but, yeah, west fertilizer was a huge part of the community. >> and how far away did you have to go to where you felt was a safe zone in we've heard five-mile radius. others have gone much farther. >> my mom lives, you know, a couple miles out of town and i always feel safe at my home. so i felt safe when i got to my family. however, it's still not five miles out. i don't know what the status is on the last tank. i made it through the first explosion so at least i'm safe out here i feel. we actually tried to go back into town after we got my kids safe to see if we could get to the house or, you know, try to help any of our friends that were around the area and we couldn't get anywhere close to where we live. >> and you have heard anything from authorities on the radio a
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on any local television news? are they providing information or any news to people in the local area? >> we were just told to go. nobody really knew what was going on. they didn't know maybe to the extreme of what was happening because it was so spread out and chaotic. they were just telling people that they needed to evacuate if they possibly could. so we did that. we didn't ask questions. we just got out of there. >> we have also been hearing that officials are asking those in the area to stay indoors because of the concern of toxic fumes. have you seen anything that seemed out of the ordinary with air quality? have you smelled anything that seemed toxic? >> oh, yeah. you can smell it. like i said, i'm probably a good three, four miles away from the fertilizer plant now and it's foggy. you can see it in the air. it's usually pretty clean out here and i can't see my car from where i'm at right now and it probably 20 feet from the door.
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>> now, crystal, i want to ask you to stay on the line if you would. we would love to talk to you a little bit more later. i want to bring nbc news's charles hadlock in as well. he's in west, texas. what's happening in west right now? >> reporter: right now it's quiet on the south end of town. the north end of town you can still see a lot of red flashing lights, cars and trucks going and coming from the neighborhood that has been devastated by the explosion overnight. as we reported a couple of hours ago with the straight troop who are gave a briefing, all of the injured have been evacuated from town. that is the good news. the bad news is they're still searching for survivors or victims they may find in this neighborhood. they've alluded to the fact there will be casualties from this disaster. >> you've been there for hours. have you seen signs the damage
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has caused to that damage? >> we're confined to the southern part of the area. the northern section of town is where the search is taking place and no one is allowed in there except first responders. we're able to tell you only what we see coming and going from the area and that's what we see. >> charles, we'll check back with you shortly. i want to take a moment to read the latest statement of the texas department of public safety. it provides the newest information we have about this tragedy. they report at approximately 7:50 p.m. tonight an explosion took place at a fertilizer plant in west, texas. there are confirmed fatalities, though this report does not specify how many. significant damage was reported to structure several blocks away. an estimated 50 to 75 homes were damaged, including an apartment complex. more than 100 emergency personnel, including police, fire and ems responded to the
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scene. efforts at the scene will continue throughout the night. earlier we got a chance to hear from a gentleman who survived that blast. he was inside a nearby nursing home that was heavily damaged when that blast occurred. he was visibly injured. let's take a listen to what he had to say. >> we got a report of the fire at the fertilizer plant. the fire trucks went there, we sent the ems unit to back the firemen up. i saw how bad it was, i went to the nursing home, to the medical director and called all the personnel and said get people evacuated to the far side of the building. luckily we had most everybody out then. but then there was just a major, major explosion. the windows came in on me, the roof came in on me, the ceiling came in. i worked my way out to go get some more help. of course we lost all communication because the power went out.
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the anhydrous station is badly damage. the whole 1,500 block of still meadow, my son lives there, it would have fall i don't know on him, that whole street is kbon. >> reporter: where were you at when -- >> i was in the nursing home. >>. >> reporter: what is this like? explain. how are you feeling right this second? >> exhausted. trying to get everybody where they need to, trying to do my job. i can't communicate with anybody. we didn't have cell service. finally got enough information i went to the helicopter because they have different kind of radio systems to notify to get us all the ambulances and helicopters. we have a lot of people still trapped in houses but that's dangerous materials, hazardous materials. we can't get to them right now. >> this one survivor of that blast visibly injured and
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visibly shaken. we have some new information on some of the injuries. a hospital in waco texas is reporting patients started coming in at 9:00 p.m. local and many of them suffered distress due to chemical inhalation. we'll have more information on this explosion in west, texas coming up after the break.
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we have continuing coverage of a fertilizer plant explosion
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in west, texas, that has injured at least a hundred people. there are confirmed fatalities. we don't have a number at this time. the texas department of public safety is reporting there are approximately 100 injuries. they are reporting significant damage to structures several blocks away. that's an estimated 50 to 75 homes damaged, including an apartment complex. evacuations have taken place throughout the area and the injured are being treated at nearby hospitals. we'll have more on this continuing story coming up after this break.
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they say that there are preliminary information indicates approximately 100 injuries. there are confirmed fatalities. we do know from state officials earlier this evening that they are not prepared to give a number of fatalities. however, the "los angeles times" is reporting that at least three people were reported dead. nbc news cannot independently confirm that. the statement goes on to say that significant damage was reported to structures several blocks away. an estimated 50 to 75 homes were damaged, including an apartment complex. evacuations have taken place, including a local nursing home. more than 100 emergency personnel, including police, fire and ems responded to the scene. charles, do we know if all of the injured have been tended to,
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are being tended to and where they have gone in the town of west is not big enough to accommodate 100 injured. >> no, it's not. and the hospital here is very near the plant. it would be in the danger zone if winds shifted, which they're expected to do later this morning. the spokesman for the dectexas department of public safety said all of the injured had been evacuated from the town of west, perhaps as far away as dallas/fodallas dallas/fort worth for some of the burn victims. as we heard the spokesman say, fatalities are expected. >> we have received some information from one hospital in wa waco, texas, which is about 20 miles away, that they have seen 65 patients. one came in in critical condition and that most others
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had injuries ranging from minor abrasions to broken bones. they did see a few people in respiratory distress due to chemical inhalation and some are from communities near the plant and some were from the nursing home. we also heard earlier this evening from a different hospital that they were treating a number of burn victims, which would be consistent with the nature of this incident. again, the los angeles times reporting that three people have been reported dead and that six firefighters are missing. we cannot independently confirm those numbers here at nbc news. officials are saying there are fatalities. we'll keep you posted on the very latest on this developing story. please stay with us.
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we're continuing to cover this breaking news out of the town of west, texas. that's about 20 miles from waco, texas. last evening there was a fertilizer plant explosion that injured hundreds. officials are confirming that there are fatalities. however, at this time they have not provided a number of fatalities. the "los angeles times" is reporting that three are dead. we are getting other reports about missing at this time. the "waco tribune" is reporting six firefighters are missing. there was a fire at that plant at the time that the explosion took place. firefighters were on the scene